Pirates Kidnap Nine Nigerian Nationals in Unusual Offshore Attack

Pirates staged a daring attach on an offshore vessel kidnapping 9 Nigerians
FPSO Sendje Berge - courtesy of BW Offshore

By The Maritime Executive 07-02-2020 09:30:17

Reports are coming in of another Nigerian pirate incident in the Gulf of Guinea. While it is a difficult area of the global, reports say this attack was unique both in its scope and target.

According to a statement from BW Offshore, at 4:20 a.m. local time its FPSO Sendje Berge was attached by pirates offshore Nigeria, and nine Nigerian nationals were kidnapped. Dryad reports that three vessels approached the target with one acting as a decoy while the other two assaulted and boarded the Sendje Berge. The vessel was situated on the Okwori field in Nigeria under contract to Addax Petroleum at the time of the assault.

The attack has ended and none of the remaining people onboard have suffered injuries according to the company. BW Offshore is currently working with the local authorities and the Nigerian Navy.

Dryad Global is reporting that this incident is unique within the wider realm of offshore incidents within West Africa. “Both the manner of attack and target are beyond the usual targeting and attack methodology of pirate action groups within Nigeria.”  Dryad says the tactics used, including reports of explosives with possibly grenades and RPGs, is more consistent with attacks perpetrated by militants than pirates in the West African region. 

The kidnapping of foreign personnel by groups involved in militancy is not unusual for the Niger Delta according to Dryad, but offshore operations are less frequently the target. According to Dryad’s calculations, 72 people have been kidnapped in the region so far in 2020, representing a 50 percent increase in incidents versus the prior year.

The personnel will likely be held for ransom. BW Offshore said that it would provide further updates as more information becomes available.